Texas Governor Backtracks on Reopening State as Surge in COVID-19 Cases Cripple Hospitals

The numbers don’t lie: Texas reported 47 more deaths and nearly 6,000 infections in one day.

Governor Greg Abbott has kissed his plans to reopen Texas goodbye—at least for now.

On Wednesday, the Lone Star state recorded 47 deaths and close to 6,000 new positive cases. This is an all-time high for Texas, whose hospitals are almost at capacity due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, the governor said the “temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

He then appealed to “all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly and socially distancing from others.”

“The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be, and the more we can open up Texas for business,” Abbott reminded.

The announcement was no surprise. Opening the state could lead to more cases, a scenario the Texas healthcare system can no longer support. The Texas Medical Center in Houston earlier reported that its ICU is fully occupied.

A few weeks ago, Gov. Abbott signed an executive order postponing “all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary” in the state’s four biggest counties. This was meant to help free up more beds in densely populated areas.

Dr. Faisal Masud, medical director of critical care medicine at the Houston Methodist hospital system, said their hospital is managing for now. However, he was quick to say that “if this trajectory is what it was the last 10 days when we literally had a tripling of our cases — we can’t do that for a couple of weeks at all.”

Dr. Masud stressed that the explosion of patients has to slow down.